Murdered By The Manson Family.
Sharon Tate was a beautiful and talented Hollywood starlet who was married to director Roman Polanski. She starred in films like The Fearless Vampire Killers and Valley of the Dolls. When Sharon was just 26 years old and 8 and a half months pregnant, she was murdered by the members of Charles Manson's cult, the "Manson Family".
*This is not an exact transcript, but rather an outline of my notes.
I’m so excited because it’s October yall!! So today’s episode is going to be a little bit different because I wanted to do something kind of spooky.
Giveaway** details at the end of episode.
Sharon Tate was born January 24, 1943 in Dallas Texas.
She started out actin mkg in small roles like in Beverly Hillbillies and Mr. Ed, and then moved onto feature in films, like Valley of the Dolls and The Fearless Vampire Killers. And then she got into modeling.
Her father was in the US Army so her family moved a lot as a child. By age 16, she had lived in 6 different cities and found it hard to maintain friendships. She was said to be kind of shy.
She was absolutely beautiful and people noticed. So she started doing beauty pageants in high school, until her father got stationed in Italy and they had to move there.
She started getting work as an extra and people were noticing her. In 1962, her family moved back to the United States, to Los Angeles CA. There, she was introduced to Martin Ransohoff, a director and producer, who was a douche bag. He offered her a 7 year contract and then was super controlling of Sharon. She was quoted as saying “Marty didn’t want the audience to see me until I was ready.” So he made her spend all her time in lessons for acting, singing, dancing, he put her in like nutrition or exercise programs to help her lose weight.
He did put her in a couple of tv shows he was producing, like Mr. Ed and Beverly Hillbillies.
She also once said “I can’t fart unless Marty says it’s ok.”
He finally gave her a bigger role in the 1965 film Eye of the Devil.
Marty actually put it in her contract that she couldn’t get married for those first 7 years.
In 1964, Sharon met Jay Sebring, a former sailor who was then one of the leading hair stylists in Hollywood.
Sharon started dating Jay, against Marty’s wishes. They eventually got engaged. In response, Marty made sure she had a fully booked schedule with acting classes and stuff- 7 days a week.
Marty was set to direct the film Dance of the Vampires, which was directed by Roman Polanski. Marty made them change the name later to The Fearless Vampire Killers. At the time, Roman was dating actress Jill St. John, and he wanted her to star in the film. But Marty pushed him to consider Sharon for the role. So Roman reluctantly agreed to meet her.
When they first met, they couldn’t stand each other. They had dinner and he was really blunt and made really cruel comments about how she didn’t fit the part. After the awful dinner he walked home, and then tried to kiss her! Somehow he like tripped and tangled his leg in hers, and they both fell down, all intertwined. Sharon got up and smacked him on the head and ran home. She looked back and saw him still on the ground, laughing.
She called Marty and said “that’s the craziest nut I ever met. I will never work with him!”
Despite the fact that they couldn’t stand each other, Marty was like “mm, nah. Sharon’s still playing the lead role.”
The first few weeks of filming were like, a culture shock for Sharon. Roman like barked commands at her and threw tantrums, and he would demand take after take of Sharon. But she was determined to prove herself a professional actress.
Within weeks, they warmed up to each other. She began to respect his confidence and his drive to take charge of every aspect of the film.
Roman also played her love interest in the film, and he would really soften up and show a more vulnerable side. And when they were in a scene together, there was serious heat.
They started a friendship that extended after work hours. He had this flair for living life to the fullest that really seduced her.
By the time Sharon had to do nude scenes, she completely trusted Roman. She was still kind of shy though so she arrived bundled up in a robe. Roman told her “the more you try to cover up and act embarrassed, the more everyone around you will be embarrassed. You’re beautiful. Be proud of your body, it’s the purest thing a woman can do. Just let go, and no one will notice a thing.”
With Roman’s encouragement, Sharon became bolder and freer and determined to just be herself.
With Sharon working so much, she wasn’t seeing Jay very often. He didn’t like that she was doing nude scenes and he was aware that he was losing her and he tried to dominate her, which was the opposite of what she wanted.
He pushed her to her breaking point and she called off the engagement. Before long, she and Roman began having an affair. Sharon and Jay remained close friends though and he became friends with Roman too.
Marty ended up making a lot of changes to the film, which made Roman livid. He told Marty to fuck off and told his attorney to get him and Sharon both out of their contracts.
For the time being, Sharon was still obligated to appear in two films: Valley of the Dolls and Don’t Make Waves.
The bigger she got in her career, the less motivated she was to keep going. There’s a quote from Valley of the Dolls that says “You’ve got to climb to the top of MountEverest to reach the Valley of the Dolls. It’s a brutal climb to reach that peak… You stand there, waiting for the rush of exhilaration you thought you’d feel-- but it doesn’t come… You’re alone, and the feeling of loneliness is overpowering… it was more fun at the ottom when you started with nothing more than hope and dream of fulfillment… But it’s different when you reach the summit. The elements have left you battered, deafened, sightless-- and too weary to enjoy your victory.”
She thought about this often and started thinking about how male-dominated Hollywood is, and how she would always have to fight to prove herself.
Sharon and Roman were in a pretty serious relationship by now, even though Roman would always continue to sleep around. He told her that he wasn’t one to settle down and she told him “I would never want to change you.”
She ended up asking Marty to let her out of her contract so she could marry Roman and become a housewife. Roman hadn’t proposed or anything yet. But she got out of her contract. She had to pay him 25% of her earnings until his options expired though. But she was free.
In 1968, Roman and Sharon got married. I’m gonna post pictures on brokenlimelight.com because, Sharon’s wedding look is so 60’s chic, it’s adorable. And Roman of course looks like a mousey little turd.
They had spent the last 3 years traveling and going to movie premiers. They were both really successful by now. But Sharon wanted to settle down, make a home. Roman didn’t want anything to do with that. He thought of himself as like, a traveler. A drifter.
They got a suite at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood, but Roman started bringing all his sketchy friends over. So when Patty Duke offered to lease her house to Sharon, she was like “I’m going whether you join me or not.”
He not only joined her, but started making an effort to make the relationship work. For the next few months, the house became their home. Roman spent more time at work with Sharon and spent nights at home with her.
So Sharon started to really daydream about having a family and wanted to have a baby. Roman was still fucking around with other woman though. Sharon actually put a hole in her diaphragm, and was pregnant by January 1969, due in late September.
She flew out to London to be with Roman and they were scheduled to take a cruise back. But Roman told her a the last minute that he couldn’t go because he had a lot of work left to do. She wanted to stay and fly home with him, but she was too far into the pregnancy to fly. So she had no choice but to get on the ship home alone.
Started in the late 60’s, he pretty much started gathering followers after he got out of prison in 1967.
Charles learned to play guitar in prison and when he got out, he moved to San Francisco and pretty much survived from begging. He moved in with a 23 year old woman he met named Mary Brunner and before long, he convinced her to let other women move in with them.
This group became a big hippie family. Charles would play them music and they all swooned over him. He had them convinced that they were the reincarnation of the original Christians and that the Romans were the establishment.
They refashioned an old school bus in to a big hippie love bus.
One day, two members of the Manson family were hitchhiking and were picked up by Dennis Wilson from the Beach Boys. These were Patricia Krenwinkle and Ella Jo Bailey. They were both under the influence of LSD so he brought them to his Pacific Palisades house for a few hours. He came back and found Charlie Manson coming out of the house. Dennis was like “are you gonna hurt me” and Charlie was like “no way!” and bent down and started kissing his feet.
Then they went inside where Dennis was shocked to find a dozen people in there, mostly female.
And they all made themselves at home. First of all, they pretty much doubled, and they like squatted there for months. But like, Charlie made these women act like slaves to him and Dennis. So he ended up like paying for gonorrhea treatment for these women and paying for studio time for Charlie to record songs that he had written. They even recorded to of Charlie’s songs with the Beach Boys. He also introduced Charlie to people like Terry Melcher, a record producer.
Charlie auditioned for Terry at Terry’s house on Cielo Drive. but Terry ultimately declined to sign him. Terry and Dennis Wilson both ended up cutting ties with Charlie. And Charlie didn’t like that.
Dennis ended up moving out of that house and then the landlord evicted the Manson family. So that’s when they went to Spahn Ranch.
Spahn Ranch was this property that was used to film old western scenes, and Charlie and the fam moved in and started living there.
So Terry Melcher moved out of that house, and Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski ended up renting it while Sharon was pregnant.
Meanwhile, the Manson family is up to just absolute debauchery. They’re like making noise and setting shit on fire and defecating in public. On the evening of August 8th 1969, a bunch of them got arrested, but the police had no idea that there were killers among them.
But later on, these patrol men were there and these young girls went up to them and were like “can you help us? There’s people back there that want to kill us because we want to leave.” and the officer was like “you don’t have to worry, we got everyone out of there.” and the girls were like “no, there’s still a lot more back there. We don’t want to get our heads chopped off like they did to Gary.” and he was like “Gary?” and they were like “it’s nothing. Can you just call our parents?”
As it turned out, one of these girls had a warrant out for her as a material witness to the murder of someone named Gary Hinman.
But they didn’t realize that Mary Brunner, Patricia Krenwinke, and Bruce Davis were associated with that murder, so they let them go.
And then one of the Manson family members, Bobby Beausoleil, was arrested driving the car of Gary Hinman (the murder victim).
Just two days after the raid, Charlie told the family that this is the time for Helter Skelter. And they were going to start with the house on Cielo Drive, where Sharon & Roman were now living.
It’s unclear whether or not Charlie knew that Terry Melcher still lived there or not, but I’ll go over that later.
Charlie sent a few of his people and told them to “leave a sign, something witchy.”
While Sharon and Roman had been in London, they had a couple of friends keep an eye on the house. This was Wojciech Frykowsky and his girlfriend Abigail Folger, the heiress of Folger’s coffee.
Since Roman couldn’t come home, he asked Wojciech and Abigail (Gibbie) to stay home with her.
On the night of August 8th, Roman talked to Sharon on the phone and told her he’d be home by the 12th. After they got off the phone, Roman hung out with a friend who worked with the Playboy clubs in Europe (which Roman loved). According to this friend, Roman got friendly with a woman and took her home with him.
That same night, Jay Sebring came over to hang out with Sharon, Gibbie, and Wojciech. Sharon was 8 and a half months pregnant at this point. They had dinner and got home around 11PM. Everyone got into pajamas and started settling in for bed. It was really hot, so Sharon changed into a bikini and then put on like a sheer gown over it, just to keep cool.
Gibbie went to bed and Wojciech fell asleep on the couch. Sharon and Jay were hanging out in the master bedroom.
Shortly after midnight, a 17 year old boy was at Sharon and Roman’s house visiting the caretaker, who lived like at a guesthouse on the property. He apparently went the wrong way and ended up at the main house. Which was just, the worst mistake in the world. Because that’s when 4 members of the Manson family showed up. These were Tex Watson, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkle (Big Pattie), Susan (Sadie) Atkins.
At this time, the Manson member Tex Watson was cutting the phone lines and the power lines.
Tex saw Steven and approached him, and Steven like begs for his life, saying he won’t tell anyone he saw him.
Tex shot him 4 times, right in the face.
Then they cut open a window screen to break in. Linda Kasabian stayed outside to keep watch.
What’s really sad is that the only reason the window was open was that Sharon had a painter over that day to paint the nursery for the baby. So he had left the window open, but the screen was secured.
Inside, Tex whispered something to one of the girls and Wojciech, who was on the couch, woke up and saw Tex standing over him with the gun.
Wojciech said “who are you?” and Tex said “I’m the devil and I’m here to do the devil’s work.”
The family went around the house and got everyone into one room. They tied up Sharon and Jay, like tied rope around their necks back to back so if they move in any direction, they’ll choke.
Jay was like, super protective of Sharon and he started getting pissed. And the family started getting everyone together to tie them up. There was a scuffle between Jay and Tex or like an argument, and Tex stabbed and shot Jay.
By this point, Wojciech and Gibbie were able to free themselves and make a run for it, but Tex caught up with Wojciech (whose legs had been stabbed many times by Susan Atkins), and Tex beat him over the head with a gun, stabbed him multiple times, and shot him twice.
As this was happening, Big Patty went after Gibbie and stabbed her, and tackled her to the ground and stabbed her over and over again. Gibbie actually said to her “I’m already dead.”
Then Tex went over and they both finished stabbing her (28 stabs total)
Wojciech was still alive and struggled across the lawn, and Tex stabbed him until he died.(51 stabs total).
Inside, Sharon was begging for her child’s life. She begged them to let her have the baby and she would give herself up.
She was stabbed 16 times by Susan Atkins and died crying out for her mother.
Allegedly, girls who were at a nearby camping trip hear Wojciech crying out as he died.
Linda Kasabian (who was keeping watch and just joined the cult a month before), tried to tell them to stop and said that someone was coming, just to stop them. But Susan Atkins actually looked at her and said “it’s too late.”
Big Patty then grabbed a towel that had been used to bind their hands together and used it to write the word “pig” in blood on the door.
She did this to make it look like Gary Hinman’s crime scene so the police would think the murderer was still free and maybe they’d let Bobby Beausoleil go.
It’s also been said that Charlie had ordered them to hang someone and make it look like a reverse-lynching, so that people would blame the black panthers.
It seems most likely that Charlie knew that Terry no longer lived there. Terry says that Charlie knew where he really lived because he sent him a letter or something once. Like a threatening note I think.
But Terry lived the rest of his life in total fear and paranoia that he was going to be next.
Susan Atkins would later say that they hit the Cielo Drive house to instill fear in Terry Melcher.
For a while, the police weren't sure what happened or who the killers were.
Btw, don’t look up crime scene photos unless you’re ready to see really bloody, fucked up shit. I don’t even wanna put them on my website.
Charlie Manson was apparently pissed that they didn’t carry out the murder right and they didn’t get enough money, so he had them commit another murder the next night-- The LaBianca murders.
On August 16th, the police raided Spahn Ranch. They were looking for stolen vehicles and arrested at least 26 people for burglary.
Among those arrested was Susan Atkins, who pretty much immediately told her whole story to another inmate in jail.
By November 1969, she had told the entire story to her cellmate, who turned her in.
Little by little as they interviewed the suspects, they all started spilling the beans and admitting to the murders at Cielo Drive, the LaBianca murders, and quite a few other murders.
Roman Polanski was of course shattered by the news. He flew home right away and he was so hysterical that he had to be heavily sedated.
So that’s the story of how Sharon Tate and her unborn baby were killed by the Manson family. She was only 26 years old.
Roman Polanski huge director, directed Rosemary’s Baby. In 1977 (just 8 years later), Roman Polanski was arrested and charged with drugging and raping a 13 year old girl. I’m going to cover that later in October!
I’m reading “The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski”. It’s actually written by the 13 year old girl he arrested (she was like 50 when she wrote it).
That’s it for today, thanks so much for listening! Thanks Summer for joining me today!
If you have strong feelings or opinions about this episode, head on over to brokenlimelight.com and leave a comment under this episode’s page! I would love to hear your thoughts.
Before I wrap up, let me tell you about the October Giveaway! I will be giving away a $25 gift card to Spencer’s which can also be used at Spirit Halloween Stores! The winner will also receive their very own Broken Limelight teeshirt.
This contest will be held on Facebook so you must have a Facebook account and Like Broken Limelight on facebook in order to be entered.
For more details you can look up our post on facebook, or go to brokenlimelight.com for all the details.
See you latuhhh!
Sharon Tate & Roman Polanski's Wedding
The Crime Scene